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The Things You Learn
by Marinell Haegelin

What I love about films and books is the prolific information that effortlessly comes my way. The first film I saw, The Child Prodigy was about André Mathieu; even music aficionados I know are not aware of Mathieu. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1929, he began composing at four, at six gave his first recital playing his own compositions and a year later, in 1936, his parents took him and his younger sister to Paris where he performed his works at Salle Chopin-Pleyel that impressed even the renowned Rachmaninov. Parisian critics loved him, declaring André Mathieu to be the "little Canadian Mozart." Albeit he was only 39 when he died in 1968, Mathieu left behind a repertoire of more than 100 works.

Both Venice, set in Poland and Korkoro, set in France, show us alternative perspectives. The films take place during WW II, involve Jews and gypsies, and illustrate the awfulness of being in the cross hairs of the enemy when one is of the wrong race or nationality.

On the other hand, Colony filled in a lot of gaps about honeybees and beekeepers. With more than 30,000 books and articles written about them, the honeybee is the most well-documented insect in the world. Perhaps next in line are the beekeepers who include hobbyists (film editor Walter Murch, rock musician Steve Vai), sideliners, commercial beekeepers and those who offer a pollinating service, driving their vast quantities of hives coast to coast in the United States to pollinate crops such as almonds (60,000 acres in California), fruits and melons.

Another documentary, Dreamland, was overloaded with information about Iceland: its history, geography, government and economy focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries and especially aluminum. Do a Wikipedia search on Iceland and nowhere does it mention Alcoa needed cheap electricity for an aluminum smelter on the east coast, so the government sacrificed the environment to build the biggest dam in Europe. The American company, which is the leading weapon manufacturer in the U.S., has more plans for expansion in Iceland; I need to see the film again to digest all the facts. (See page   .)

I had no idea the new Mets baseball stadium was surrounded by an industrial dump in the neighborhood of Willets Point, Queens, New York; however it was after checking on the Internet that I learned the full story about both the area and the proposed redevelopment reported in the documentary Foreign Parts.

Which is the plus for all of us living in the tech generation: whether it is a quote or a comment, about people or music, a narrative, documentary or ??? flick, once our curiosity is aroused, full information is at our fingertips, available on the computer.